Each winter there are thousands or confirmed cases of influenza in Victoria. There are many more cases than notifications as often people may not seek medical attention or are not routinely tested for influenza when they present.
Australia and Victoria has an extended influenza season. With global travel continuing to increase influenza can be a risk at any time.
The Royal Women’s Hospital is encouraging us to vaccinate all pregnant women not previously vaccinated to receive their free vaccine. Babies receive 6 month immunity from their Mother’s influenza vaccine.
Influenza A has been the main circulating virus while the proportion of Influenza B is now increasing.
Those at high risk who can receive the free flu vaccine include:
- Everyone over 65
- Indigenous people aged 15 and over
- Pregnant women at any stage in their pregnancy
- Any person over 6 months with
• Cardiac disease
• Chronic respiratory disease including asthma
• Chronic renal or liver disease
• Diabetes Mellitus
• Chronic Metabolic Disease
• Immunosuppression including cancer, HIV, immunosuppressive medications
• Chronic neurological disorders
The 2014 vaccine is now available. It is important to be vaccinated annually if in a high risk group. Contact our reception to organise your immunisation.
Influenza vaccine also reduces workplace absenteeism from illness and many companies invest in vaccinating their Staff. Centres such as Health Care and Aged Care facilities should encourage maximum staff vaccination.
Overseas travel increases the risk of influenza and it is a recommended pre travel vaccine.
Travelling on public transport and working in large open plan air-conditioned offices with no opening windows increases influenza risk.
Those who are infected should not attend school, childcare, work or public gatherings and should observe cough, hand hygiene and respiratory/ cough etiquette.
Those who become infected and who have not been vaccinated and are at high risk or in contact with those at high risk should seek medical attention within 48 hours to discuss treatment with antiviral medication such as Tamiflu or Relenza.